Key #1: Start at the end: What does success look like?
Start with some important internal conversations. Begin at the end by carefully identifying desired outcomes. Don’t be afraid of a bit of healthy disagreement, just manage expectations.
Key #2: Find a data geek to help you.
If you aren’t comfortable in the roll of data geek, then you need to find someone who is. Every organization has them, generally in accounting, finance, or IT. Probably not in communications. Somewhere there’s someone who’s more passionate about Excel than you are. Find them and make them your data curator.
Key #3: Find a pilot project to get buy-in.
To get started, select a relatively small and not-too-difficult project, event, small campaign, or program that is a high priority on your organization’s work plan for the year. Use it to demonstrate how valuable measurement can be.
Key #4: Get buy-in on your metrics to avoid unpleasant conflicts.
Make sure that anyone who is going to use the data, or sit in a meeting and review the data, buys into your metrics. That could be the CMO, COO, CFO, a program manager, or other people in your department. Make sure that everyone ends up on the same page.
Key #5: Get good data.
Up to 75% of online traffic comes from spambots and pay-per-click outfits, so make sure you have a good clean source for your data. If you are tracking conversations, triple check your search terms to make sure you are getting only the most relevant data. Monitor the first two weeks of responses to make sure that they make sense and there isn’t any sampling bias.
Key #6: Measure failure first.
Too many companies think that failure isn’t an option. The reality is that you can always learn more from studying what doesn’t work than what does. Rank all the programs from best to worse and take a hard look at the bottom three. Why are their results worse than the rest?
Key #7: Learn from each other, not just from the data.
A simple rule of thumb is that you should spend more time learning from your data than gathering it. When you get your data, don’t just throw up a PowerPoint deck. Get everyone involved in the project in a room to brainstorm around the results and make sure you understand why things happen. ∞